Why we’re stuck in Hong Kong and other fun subjects

Day 2,843 since October 10th 2013: 194 countries out of 203. No flight, no return home, min 24 hrs in each country and 1 pandemic!

(The opinions expressed on this site are my own, and do not reflect the position or policies of the Danish Red Cross which I represent as a Goodwill Ambassador).

History repeats itself

pano

The Spanish-American philosopher George Santayana (1863-1952) observed that "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Last week’s entry: Time flies – I don’t (Hong Kong)

It often does seem like history is folding back onto itself. This is certainly not our first pandemic and the world is met with many of the same reactions as those recorded in the past. We know for sure that life will move on and the pandemic will come to an end. That is just a simple question of time. But how much time? The Delta variant is a sneaky bastard! Well, it isn’t…it is just living out its life cycle in a time where the world is suffering from severe Covid-19 fatigue. “It is just a flu” some people say. Not really though? Flu season is at least once a year and never overburdens our healthcare systems. Sneaky or not the Delta variant is now winning territory and humans are losing. I’ve been in touch with Marc in Vietnam who told me that they have been in a tight lockdown for some time now. Vietnam is a few countries west of Hong Kong. South Korea is a few countries east of Hong Kong as they are reporting multiple cases of the Delta variant. Mainland China borders Hong Kong to the north and has been infested with the Delta Variant. Australia is very far from Hong Kong and a country which is notoriously strict on stopping foreign insects, spiders and micro-organisms enter their country. They have also fiercely guarded Australia from Covid-19 with strict lockdowns, closed borders and mandatory hotel quarantine. Australia is also geographically isolated and relatively sparsely populated so surely, they have been able to keep the Delta variant out – right? Nope, it got in there too. I think that is the red flag! If it got into Australia then it will travel anywhere. In a very dark attempt to utter something humorously one would think that Covid-19 should receive the title ‘traveler of the year’.

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Click on image or HERE to watch the status update.

It seems that 27.5% of Hong Kong’s population has been fully vaccinated now. It blows my mind that an efficient and developed part of the world such as Hong Kong doesn’t have one of the worlds highest vaccination rates. Experts say that we need at least 70% of the world to be vaccinated before we can obtain heard immunity. Hong Kong; wealthy, developed, educated and with a population of only 7.5 million beating hearts: 27.5%?! The first in Hong Kong to get vaccinated received their first jab in February. I received my second dose on April 7th 2021. The Delta variant will run through Hong Kong as a wildfire. And then the next variant after that…

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Hong Kong observatories app is a good thing to have on the phone. On one day we had a special announcement on flooding in Northern New Territories, a thunderstorm warning, an amber rainstorm warning signal, and a strong wind signal, No 3 / tropical cyclone warning bulletin.

Well, that annoying virus isn’t all we have to deal with. The weather seems pretty crazy? Record-breaking high temperatures in North America and severe flooding in Europe and China just to mention a few. Then there are the manmade disasters such as armed conflict and lately an increase in abductions in Northern Nigeria. I really like Nigeria and hate to see them suffer. I find that what’s going on with the abductions seems to be “Somali Piracy on land”. Groups of former farmers who have been struggling to make a decent pay with their crops for ages. They have now been tempted to abduct schoolchildren for ransom money as it pays far more. In Somalia it was fishermen taking ships for ransom. Two different parts of the world, different cultures and different scenarios. Yet, I still see some similarities. Desperate people do desperate things. The cure must be to stop people from getting desperate in the first place.

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Thank you for putting us over the top!! :)

Ah yes – and the humanitarian work of the Red Cross and Red Crescent around the world did not stop when the pandemic broke out. Nope. It just got harder. All the usual programs and activities continued with the added “bonus” of dealing with Covid-19 as well. Throughout July my friends and I have been involved in raising funds and attention for refugees and the work carried out by the Red Cross. Through team ONCE UPON A SAGA IN HK we have already covered the distance of 1,175km (730mi) and we have already raised more than our target of NZD 3,000 (USD 2.089). The challenge runs until July 31st so we have more time to spare. NZD 3,000 is a lot of money. But it is a drop in the ocean compared to the more than 80 million refugees we have in the world. Once Upon A Saga has more than 100,000 online followers and if everyone had donated NZD 1 (USD 0.70) then it would have been a splash in the ocean. But something which I know better than most people on earth is that people are just people. For good and for bad. People are closest to themselves, their friends and family. I think most people would help a refugee if they were faced with one. However, few people will help someone who pledges to help a refugee. Some of you did though. Thank you.

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I am very proud of my team which has done absolutely amazing!! Fifty-seven generous people, some anonymous, have contributed to raising the money. Eleven of them were on my team! I would love for us to raise much more but I do understand that people have their limitations. Bob McKerrow is raising funds as an individual. He has already raised NZD 3,400 – as an individual! Bob is aiming for NZD 5,000 and is quite the character. I had to check him out and he is the kind of man I hope to meet some day. You’ve got to look him up!

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New personal best on the Hong Kong Trail. You know I'm just doing these crazy things to channel energy - right?

Well, in other news I’ve been feeling down for a few days. Tuesday and Wednesday especially. It could partially have been from physical exhaustion as I pushed myself hard last Friday and made a personal best on the Hong Kong Trail. I have set myself the goal to get under six hours across the mountainous ultra-distance trail but had to accept that it was too risky during the summer given the heat and humidity. Ultra-wifey and I did it together in 9hrs and 40mins while running a bit. My friend Anders and his trail partner Carsten managed the trail in 7hrs and 12mins by running a lot. Last Friday we had a thunderstorm and the temperatures dropped slightly. There was also no direct sun which also helped me. I made it through the trail in 6hrs and 42mins which even had an athlete friend of mine, who usually mocks me, tip his hat (given the high temperatures). He himself has won a race across the Hong Kong Trail in 4hrs and 18mins. I suspect a lot of Salomon athletes could do it even faster. The fastest known time is a whopping 3hrs and 26mins, which is just insane! Yeah – so I was feeling down. It happens sometimes. I have a lot on my mind and while some things are going my way a lot actually isn’t. I’m sure as I someday return home and get distance between this journey and myself, I will eventually look back at it, and wonder if it was really all that hard? I might even miss it someday. I’ll tell you this: it would be so easy to through in the towel. It would just be impossible to live with.

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And this little woman turned another year! Happy birthday Anita! Never stop smiling :)

Anyway – this week has once again been productive. Several interviews across several continents. A lot of administrative work. I finally released yet another video-status-update. I managed to back up the 2,678 videos 60GB I have stored on my phone. Emails keep stacking up and I have some way down to the bottom. Neither the logistics or the bureaucracy of the Saga is light work. The Danish Seamen’s Church and Church Abroad (Danske Sømands- og Udlandskirker) have extended my contract for my work at the Danish Seamen’s Church in Hong Kong. That’s a good thing as without it I don’t know how long I could stay in Hong Kong before I got deported (through the airport). The job certainly has its moments and I enjoy servicing the ships and writing with the captains. July has been the busiest month for a while with more than twice as many ships than June. The weather in Hong Kong has been wet for a while but we’re now back to blue skies and hot weather warnings.

Stay safe and sane out there. And make the best of your days like I said in the video ;)

 

 

I would like to thank our esteemed partners for their invaluable contributions to Once Upon A Saga: DB Schenker Denmark, Kameli, Red Sand Solutions, Salomon, the Danish Red Cross and Ross DK / Geoop

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If you enjoyed this blog or think I am doing a good job then you can support here below. The Saga still needs funding. Thank you :)

 

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Mr. Torbjørn C. Pedersen (Thor) - busier than most think. 

"A stranger is a friend you've never met before"

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Time flies – I don’t (Hong Kong)

Day 2,836 since October 10th 2013: 194 countries out of 203. No flight, no return home, min 24 hrs in each country and 1 pandemic!

(The opinions expressed on this site are my own, and do not reflect the position or policies of the Danish Red Cross which I represent as a Goodwill Ambassador).

Where did the week go??

pano

Time is relative. This we know for a fact. And it has been scientifically proven that an object in motion ages slower that one which is still. As such a cyclist would be slightly younger than her twin in a lawn chair.

Last week’s entry: Welcome to team: ONCE UPON A SAGA IN HK

I’ve written about time at much greater length in a previous entry. I’ve written about so much over the years. Sometimes it’s about how I feel. Sometimes it’s about where I am. Sometimes it’s about who I met. And sometimes it’s just about something I found interesting. Last week’s entry didn’t get published until Sunday so no wonder I feel like I’ve just been writing you. And much is still the same as when I last left you. I still have high hopes that we will be able to make a journey to New Zealand sometime this year. And I am still crossing my fingers in the hope that PIL (Pacific International Lines) will be able to take us on a roundtrip to the great island nation of Palau and back to Hong Kong. Hopefully relatively soon.

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This week has been full of walking, full of meetings, full of interviews, and full of work. My days have pretty much been packed with engagements from morning to evening. It takes me about 35 minutes to reach Hong Kong Central if I travel by public transportation. I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll do it again: public transportation is really great in Hong Kong and affordable. Anyway, as several of my meetings have been downtown and as the New Zealand Red Cross Journey is on throughout July, I simply walked to Central a few times this week. It takes me around two hours to cover the 12km (7.5mi). And I generally enjoy the walk. Hong Kong is a highly diversified part of our world and it’s interesting to walk though the different neighborhoods. It also gives me time to listen to some of the podcasts which I have long neglected such as Counting Countries (Ric Gazarian) and his interviews with world travelers. It is quite fascinating to listen to different accounts of what it is to travel. Some travelers are so full of them selves that I can barely stand to listen. Others are incredibly down to earth and humble. I wonder where people place me?

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We are doing well!! Help us reach our goal!! Join or support. Thanks :)

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On top of Club Lusitano with Phil.

Phil Morais invited me for another lunch meeting at Club Lusitano which is a Portuguese private club in Central. A classy place which I’ve had the good luck to visit a few times now. It is always good to spend time with Phil and on top of that Portuguese food is fantastic! Phil first suggested me a bacalhau dish but afterwards told me that they had a new chef and everyone was talking about the francesinha! I had to try it and it was naturally delicious! It was also full of meat and probably provided me with more protein than I needed for the month. It might help me gain some weight though. I’ve lost a few kilos with all the activity lately.

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Francesinha!! Read about it here! A must for meat lovers.

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Government House. The official residence of the Chief Executive of Hong Kong.

I have been trying out something new on social media. On Once Upon A Saga’s Instagram page I have been doing a lot of short stories and people have responded positively towards them. Yeah, a great many people have told me that I should do more video and that certainly seems to be where the future is, and has been for a long time. I don’t know. I do not mind doing video now and again but overall, I’m still a pictures and word kind of guy. I’m also a thinking kind of guy. And lately I have been observing how the pandemics Delta variant has been ravaging one country after the next. It is apparently ridiculously contagious and that is bad news for Hong Kong which has only vaccinated 24% of the population. People have certainly had the chance to get vaccinated and even have a choice between the Sinovac vaccine and the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. But Hongkongers are largely hesitant and reluctant to get vaccinated. Too many false rumors have settled in people’s minds and they worry. I think they should worry about the Delta variant running through Hong Kong like a wildfire. And of course, the Delta variant will make its way in. If we know one thing from this pandemic then it is that the virus always finds its way across borders. While looking at the vaccination rate it really seems like the USA got behind it. They are at 48.5%. Well done USA. Not as good as Mongolia though who have reached 55.7%. Who knew? They haven’t been in the media at all – have they? Chile is at 59.7% of the population. The great nation of Denmark in the high north of Europe has reached 40.1%. Looking at Liberia, Benin, Cameroon and Guinea-Bissau they are all at 0.1%. Man, we have a long way to go still!! It’s a global problem and not a local problem.

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From the left: Anita, Anders, Thomas, me, Christina, Winnie and Anja. Note that Thomas has a really long arm!

My work for the Danish Seamen’s Church in Hong Kong seems to go well. I put a lot of effort into it as the only fulltime employee. I halfway see it as my “kingdom” and it will stay that way until I abdicate or someone dethrones me ;) I really like everyone involved with the church. The church council recently got together to discuss the state of current affairs. The assistant is usually not invited to take part in council meetings, but given that there is no reverend in Hong Kong for the time being, I was invited to join. We even had Anja Villefrance come and join us. She is the Consul General at the Royal Danish Consulate for Denmark. It is located in mainland China and there is no permanent representation in Hong Kong. Anja was on her way to Denmark and made a stopover in Hong Kong. I suspect a lot of Danes will use the opportunity to go to Denmark now that the hotel quarantine in Hong Kong has been brought down from three to one week for those who are vaccinated and arriving from a low-risk country. People mostly avoided traveling to Denmark when returning meant three weeks in a hotel room behind closed windows. It’s expensive too.

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Delivering coffee beans to the good ship Maersk Essex.

A lot of Danish flagged ships have been calling Hong Kong throughout the first half of July and there have been many requests for assistance from the Danish Seamen’s Church: 5kgs of coffee beans, reading glasses, gifts, sweets, suitcases, art for the walls and much more. The good ship Nordborg Maersk was among the ships which I found particularly interesting as she is brand new. She arrived to Hong Kong on her maiden voyage and it was quite interesting to see something of such a size in perfect condition. The ocean is a rough place and rust work is a constant part of the job for seafarers. This ship was perfect! Anyway, the Danish Seamen’s Church has operated in Hong Kong for little more than forty years and Danish Seamen’s Churches have been around since  1867 and I’m honored to contribute the slightest to that tradition. But my goodness…it has been a lot of work lately and I’m not exactly twiddling my thumbs within Once Upon A Saga.

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Yeah, I also do a lot of home cooked meals. This one was taught to me by my sister long ago.

Well, have a nice weekend wherever you are. We a crushing it in the New Zealand #RedCrossJourney and have already received NZD 2,000 in donations!! Fantastic!! The target is NZD 3,000 so don’t be shy. And my leg has mostly healed since last Saturday’s ultra-distance hike. So here we are, it is Friday again and I am doing another 47km (29mi). Please join or support team Once Upon A Saga in HK :)

 

I would like to thank our esteemed partners for their invaluable contributions to Once Upon A Saga: DB Schenker Denmark, Kameli, Red Sand Solutions, Salomon, the Danish Red Cross and Ross DK / Geoop

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If you enjoyed this blog or think I am doing a good job then you can support here below. The Saga still needs funding. Thank you :)

 

 Patreon Picture2MobilePay

 

Best regards
Mr. Torbjørn C. Pedersen (Thor) - Ultra hiking while you read this.

"A stranger is a friend you've never met before"

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Welcome to team: ONCE UPON A SAGA IN HK

Day 2,831 since October 10th 2013: 194 countries out of 203. No flight, no return home, min 24 hrs in each country and 1 pandemic!

(The opinions expressed on this site are my own, and do not reflect the position or policies of the Danish Red Cross which I represent as a Goodwill Ambassador).

Slow and steady wins the race

pano

The most dreaded question has for a long while been: “when are you going to the next country?” And trust me, I’m working on it. But it is harder than you may think. Meanwhile – let’s make the best of things.

Last week’s entry: Let’s walk to Thailand!! (Hong Kong continued)

The Friday Blog on a Sunday!! What has the world come to!!! Is the sky on fire and has the surface of the earth cracked opening up the gates to hell? For years I have thought there was something off with that picture? God is up and the devil is down? I would have thought that God would be at the center of our planet protecting it from evil from within. And as such the devil would be up beyond the clouds, trying to attack us from above. Wouldn’t that make a lot more sense? Well, the stories contained within most religions do not make any sense at all – that is why you need to believe in them to give them value. I’m not against religion and I have seen how important religion is to people all around the world. My only two reservations in relation to religion is 1) don’t push it upon other people, and 2) do no harm. And fortunately, in my experience, that is how most people live their lives.

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Jakob and Kenneth making their way down the stairs.

How can we possibly leave Hong Kong without flying? Once Upon A Saga was difficult enough as it was before the pandemic. Trying to pull off the impossible now..? Ideally, we would get on a ship to Palau and wait there until the next ship arrived two weeks later to bring us back to Hong Kong. Then we would take the Saga to Aotearoa (New Zealand) and make it our new base until we could move forward again. Palau is possibly one of the worlds most beautiful countries judging from photos on the internet. It is also a fairly isolated pacific island nation. It is furthermore our last pacific country in the norther hemisphere and the sole reason why we went to Hong Kong. Having been to 194 countries within the Saga I find it simply mindboggling that we have spent more time in Hong Kong than anywhere else – especially given that Hong Kong wasn’t even on the list!? However, as always, I’m grateful to have spent the pandemic here and not on a ship or a small pacific island. So! How do we accomplish the ideal plan of reaching Palau and afterwards Aotearoa? Fortunately, the Saga has a friend in Palau! Roel is Dutch and has been in Palau throughout the entire pandemic. He reached out to me a while ago and offered to help. Roel has already helped me get in touch with the Director of the Ministry of Health within Palau. And I have made a formal request for an invitation. Meanwhile I have been in touch with our friends at PIL (Pacific International Lines) in Singapore to hear if they could help us reach Palau and return to Hong Kong? PIL replied that they would be happy to take it to top management once I have the invitation letter. Especially since I’m fully vaccinated, hold an employment visa in Hong Kong and a Hong Kong ID-card. So – there is a potential chance that we can pull this off and promote both PIL and Palau along the way.

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Dinner at Thomas' place. The king of the Andersen Clan. Cooked by Jossie. Always a pleasure!!

And how about Aotearoa and why are you calling it that? Well, it is the Māori name for the land and was in use long before Europeans arrived. When the Saga reached Papua New Guinea I was welcomed into Theresa and Craig’s home. They have since moved back to Australia but Craig, who is from New Zealand, told me to call it Aotearoa as it would make people happy. In honesty I’m still struggling with the pronunciation and New Zealand Tourism is still calling it New Zealand, but it’s nice to be nice. Maersk is a long-time friend of Once Upon A Saga and has helped us out in many different ways. Craig works for Maersk, which is a Danish international container shipping company (largest in the world) and a world leader within sustainability. And Maersk operates a service from Hong Kong to New Zealand. Meanwhile, throughout July, team ‘Once Upon A Saga in HK’ is raising funds and awareness for refugees though the New Zealand #RedCrossJourney and I would very much like you to join! Taking part in this challenge is the right thing to do and it also goes a long way in generating some goodwill towards New Zealand.

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I've had the pleasure of boarding three ships this week. And disembarking just as many.

While I dream about setting my feet firmly within a new country it is completely uncertain when that will happen again. And it is not without risk. While the pandemic is more or less over for some it is still going on for others. Getting on a ship to Palau could leave us stranded within Palau or onboard a ship for an unforeseeable future. I have no doubt that Palau is an amazing country but the size of the nation and the geographical location does not play well into a strategy for reaching the final nations. And getting onboard a ship to Aotearoa is likewise risky as it is a long voyage and much could change during these uncertain times. However, the greatest risk is found in that we know that my dear ultra-wifey can enter Hong Kong. We do not know if we can get her into any of the upcoming countries. So that is that. I’m working on bringing us forward. It is just not simple.

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I had a nice podcast interview with Anis Mohammedi in Algeria. Lovely country and our last nation in Africa.

Before we continue, I would like to tell you all that Once Upon A Saga is now officially Once Upon A Saga ApS. ApS is an abbreviation for the Danish word ‘anpartsselskab’ which translates to a limited company often abbreviated as Ltd. The change in company form evolved naturally as the Danish Business Authority ended the previous form (entrepreneurial limited company). Furthermore, the board members of Once Upon A Saga ApS have approved the financial accounts for 2020. Good job and high-fives all way round. Thanks to Ann-Chistina, Parth, Soren, Torben and Kuno for all their support.

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Our team has reached the top of the ranks!! Let's stay up there :)

And now let’s dive into the adventures of the #RedCrossJourney!! I have been recruiting as many as possible to join or support the challenge in which we raise awareness for refugees all around the world. Some refugees cover incredible distances on their feet when they need to flee their homes and look for safety. My team is covering one of those distances to illustrate the hardship. But who are we kidding? We are eating well, we have good hiking gear, we sleep in our beds and we do not carry the mental torment of being homeless and in fear. Nope! We are the privileged ones that get to raise funds and awareness though this “gimmick” and I’m looking to recruit more team members! Team ‘Once Upon A Saga in HK’ already counts ten members: Jakob Jeppesen, Poul Kristensen, Jesper Larsen, Kenneth Petersen, Thomas Andersen, Le Gjerum (ultra-wifey), Lars Thuen, Tai Okuno, Virinder Singh Bhasin (Viru) and myself! – a string team for sure and 11 days in we have already covered 688km (428mi) of the virtual route from Myanmar to Thailand.

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In addition to that we have received lots of donations and are nearly halfway in meeting our target. Thanks to Peter Draminsky in Singapore I actually reached my personal target of raising NZD 150 (USD 105) almost immediately, as Peter generously donated the balance of NZD 124 :) The group target is however set somewhat higher as NZD 3,000 (USD 2,100). It goes a long way considering that NZD 20 (USD 14) can buy a tarpaulin to help a family after a natural disaster. So thanks for the many donations to Peter, Sushil, Jesper, Scott, Anita, Gaither, Gurung, Kenneth, Tai, Jean, Le, lars, Ingelise, Sheryl, TZ, Seb, Fruursula, Satish, Phil, Sara, Lynn, Hayashi, Poul, Jesper, Kenneth, Thomas, Virinder, Jakob and Volodymir. And thanks to future donations as well.

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Congratulations to the Danish National Team! A team with as much heart as skill! I'm truly sad that we did not make it to the finals. As I'm hardly interested in football I'm not sure why? Maybe it's just in my blood.

It has been an exceptionally busy week for me. I have personally pledged to covering 425km (264mi) within the #RedCrossJourney challenge which symbolizes a refugee’s journey from Afghanistan to Pakistan. That means that I need to look for an average of 2-3 hours a day in order to accomplish it within July. My work at the Danish Seamen’s Church ramped up severely as the Danish national football team performed incredibly well and reached the semi-finals! Unfortunately, England proved to have a strong team and they continued to the finals. Denmark went home. Ultra-wifey and my father can talk football for hours. I reach my limits within a minute or two. The game never really caught my interest although I enjoy watching a match at a stadium. England is now playing Italy and I know who my mom will be rooting for! She loves Italy! I’m inclined to root for Italy too as I’m displeased with England leaving the EU and we can’t have them taking the gold after that ;) Anyway, we have been showing all the Danish matches (six) with all of them being past midnight here in Hong Kong. Those were some really late nights when Denmark won! The games were shown in a collaboration with the Danish Chamber of Commerce (DCC) with fifty(!) crates of beer sponsored by Carlsberg. Poul S. and Kenneth from the DCC were very helpful in making it a success. Lots of extra cleaning for me.

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All geared up an ready to serve! :) I wen't onboard Eugen Maersk, Nordborg Maersk and Skagen Maersk just this week. Beautiful ships and competent crews. The good ship Nordbord Maersk was on her maiden voyage - a brand new ship!! My first! :)

And then Hong Kong is all of the sudden being visited by heaps of Danish flagged ships which all need something. That is the best part of my job: servicing ships! And I generally enjoy shopping on their behalf and going onboard the ships to deliver the items. It is however a time-consuming ordeal and adds to the stress of an already busy week. Where do you go to get guitar strings, coffee beans, reading glasses, a suitcase, a sim card or a waffle iron? Well, I know the answer to all of that now. Let’s see which treasure hunts the future will bring. With Maersk being both Danish and the world’s largest shipping company, all of the ships I service here in Hong Kong are Maersk vessels. That should go a long way in terms of building up some goodwill there too.

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This weekend the founders of Ross.dk (Claus and Lars) both celebrated turning fifty years of age. I have had the pleasure of working with both of them on several occasions and I even got to reunite with Claus when we took the Saga to China. Claus and Lars are by personalities day and night which has turned out to be a formidable combination within the company. And I only wish that I could have joined the celebration which looks like a lot of fun. I have been able to view some videos in a private group on Facebook. The celebrations were set up in a festival atmosphere with live bands playing for two days. It’s never boring with those guys! And this is just yet another thing I have missed out on as Once Upon A Saga continues to drag on. Some people do not understand why I do not quit and return home. Those people have likely never accomplished anything remarkable and never will. And they don’t have to. Doing what you believe in isn’t always a long list of easy choices. What we are doing with the Saga certainly comes at a price – and I am grateful to Ross DK and Geoop for helping us make it a reality since day one.

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The last sentence will make you laugh: The "Disney rash" is a kind of blood vessel inflammation called vasculitis that affects the lower parts of the legs after you perform strenuous exercise or activity for a long time, especially in warm weather. It is more commonly seen in women aged over 50.

It has truly been quite a week. The good and the bad. Lots of administrative work and lots of physical work. A disrupted sleep pattern, some laughs here and there, and a week with the unexpected. For some reason the website stopped working for a while until I contacted Soren and René in Denmark who swiftly got it back up and running. And then I also pushed a 90-hour online workshop into my schedule with Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) who are looking to rebrand Hong Kong and position Hong Kong as a world class travel destination. I cannot say no to HKTB :)

Okay, let the rest of this entry unfold in photos with captions. I hope you will enjoy the journey – and please support our efforts through the New Zealand Red Cross Challenge. Thank you.

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On Saturday July 3rd, Poul and I sat out to complete the Hong Kong Trail for the 3rd time together. Both earning around 47km (29mi) for team Once Upon A Saga in HK.

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Unfortunately Poul twisted his ankle and had to head home after about 26km (16mi). We managed to get him to a nearby BBQ area from where he could get an ambulance. But Poul opted to limp another 3km (1.9mi) to the nearest public road to get a cab home.

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I continued the hike alone but was soon subject to the heat and high humidity. I rarely need to sit down but it was certainly called for on this ultra distance hike!!

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After cooling down and hydrating some more I managed the remaining distance and finished the trail. No new record but I completed what I had sat out to do.

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Later that night we were showing the match between Denmark and the Czech Republic. Lot's of free beer that night so Poul showed up - even with a swollen ankle ;) 

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Thomas, king of the Andersen Clan, and I hiked up and down Shatin River one evening and then had dinner together. Always good to catch up with "the king".

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I had the pleasure of meeting Viru from Pune in India. He moved to Hong Kong when he was 19 and set up his own business which he successfully ran out of mainland China. Viru speaks seven languages including Mandarin and Cantonese - bright guy! While some people have grown throughout the pandemic, Viru actually went from 140kgs (308lbs) to around 90kgs (198lbs) in the past ten months!!! That is a remarkable achievement! He credits his weight loss to no longer eating packed food while exercising every day without fail! We agreed to join forces on the Hong Kong Trail on Saturday July 10th (yesterday). It was a beautiful day but it was brutal!! 33C (91.4F) in the shade, a relative humidity of 70% and direct sun from a blue sky!!

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About 8 hours in, and after 26km (16mi) Viru was suffering from some powerful cramps in both legs. But we managed them by raising his legs. Unfortunately they kept coming back. Viru joined me for an impressive 32km (20mi) at which point I recommended that he would call it quits and return home. And Viru took my advice. The trail only got harder after that and "brutal" covers it quite well. I have built up some ultra distance experience while in Hong Kong and this simply wasn't the day for pushing a body to a new extreme and personal first. After another few hours I reached the final marker and headed home exhausted. Well done Viru! We will have another go at it another day :)

  

 

 

I would like to thank our esteemed partners for their invaluable contributions to Once Upon A Saga: DB Schenker Denmark, Kameli, Red Sand Solutions, Salomon, the Danish Red Cross and Ross DK / Geoop

Hi Res with Geoop

 

If you enjoyed this blog or think I am doing a good job then you can support here below. The Saga still needs funding. Thank you :)

 

 Patreon Picture2MobilePay

 

Best regards
Mr. Torbjørn C. Pedersen (Thor) - still in Hong Kong

"A stranger is a friend you've never met before"

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